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DPP (Cth) v Kitaoji [2022] VCC 1689

The offender was sentenced following a plea of guilty to 1 count of possessing or controlling child abuse material obtained or accessed using a carriage service contrary to s 474.22A(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code.

Nature and Circumstances: In total, there were 1,017 child abuse material files which comprised 5 images in ACACS category 1, 1 video in category 1, 1,006 images in category 2, and 5 videos in category 2. There is no suggestion that offender was involved in the further distribution of this material or that they profited from its possession in any way. It is true that this court often sees a much greater quantity of material possessed; however, what offender had was not insignificant and indicates a developed interest in child abuse material. Further, the nature and content of the material was depraved and disturbing. Well over two thirds of the files depicted real children, some possibly as young as 5 or 6 years old, engaged in sexual activity. Cultural factors do not reduce the seriousness of offending or offender’s moral culpability. Offending falls somewhere less than the midway point on the spectrum of seriousness for the charge. Whilst offender’s moral culpability is high, they may not have fully appreciated the harm caused by their conduct, especially in the case of the animated material.

Rehabilitation: Offender has no prior convictions and is entitled to be sentenced as a person of good character. After being charged, offender voluntarily and at their own expense participated in the sex offender program. This is to offender’s credit. It is of concern that offender sought to justify their behaviour and conceal their true motivations from psychologist. Psychologist described offender as defensive, their engagement as superficial and their progress as relatively slow. It is difficult to form a concluded view on offender’s prospects of rehabilitation, although the shame and humiliation of being charged has had some deterrent effect on them. On balance, offender’s prospects are reasonable.

Offender sentenced to 2 years imprisonment to be released in 6 months on recognizance of $500 to be of good behaviour for 3 years, be subject to supervision for 2 years, and undertake the sex offender program within a period of 2 years.
The CSD acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as First Australians and recognises their culture, history, diversity and their deep connection to the land. We acknowledge that we are on the land of the traditional owners and pay respects to Elders past and present.

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